Neither the Pack Leader, the Alpha Female nor I are entirely sure why we left it so long to introduce me to the joys of swimming. After all, I am a Golden Retriever, and the water is supposed to be a sort of second home for my breed. Anyway, in January, to make up for lost time, the Pack Leader decided to take me over to a quiet stretch of water for my long overdue introduction to the aqua. The Pack Leader had heard that some Goldens seem a tad unsure of what to do when they find themselves out of their depth, so he was a little concerned as to whether I would be able to hack the mission. But he needn't have worried, because I got the hang of it in, like, about two nanoseconds. Piece of cake, really. In fact, from that point on, it was all that the Pack leader could do to keep me out of the water.

This picture marks my inaugural swim. I'm in a quiet stretch of the Molongolo River, which runs through the middle of Canberra, downstream of a dam which was constructed many years ago to form Lake Burley-Griffin, the main lake hereabouts.

But the Molongolo is pretty tame stuff for an adventurous Golden Retriever. So there was nothing for it but to insist that the Pack Leader drive me over to the Uriarra Crossing so that I could launch a challenge on the mighty Murrumbidgee. (Actually, there is no way that I would take on the Murrumbidgee River when it is raging, but it is fairly docile in the summer months.)

That said, there's no point in rushing into these things. Best to first get a general feel of the thing by splashing around in the shallows for a bit. A spot of probing around with a stick also helps in the familiarization process.

But sooner or later you've got to head out into the deep, past the Eddystone Light and The Rocks of Doom and into the treacherous briny. A Golden's gotta do what a Golden's gotta do.

From the official log of my first journey on the Murrumbidgee:
"Kellie to shore party. Kellie to shore party. Hey, Pack Leader, this (puff) stretch of territory looks suspiciously like (glug) outback Queensland. Aren't you (puff) worried about crocodiles?"
"Not really, Kellie. I mean, I'm not the one in the water." (Pack Leader falls about laughing.)
"Oh, very (puff) amusing, Pack Leader. Very (glug) amusing."

Continuing from the official log:
"I know what I'll (puff) do. I'll set out for the other shore over there, set myself down in (glug) the shallows, and refuse to (puff) come when the Pack Leader calls me. That'll teach him (puff, glug) to make jokes at my expense."

And so ended my first expedition on the Murrumbidgee River. The Pack Leader said that, if nothing else, this and future expeditions proved one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt, and that was that, for reasons beyond the comprehension of my humans, I would never, ever go for a swim unless I had a stick in my mouth.

Frankly, I'm not too sure about that myself. All I know is that, without a stick, I'm just another landlubber; but give me a stick when I'm near water and I instantly turn into a regular old salt.